The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that the online hospitality booking service Airbnb does not require an estate agent’s license to operate in France.
The ruling comes following a complaint from the French tourism association, ‘AHTOP’, that Airbnb failed to comply with the country’s property laws.
The CJEU said it based its decision on the fact that Airbnb is considered an “information society service” and not a property broker.
“The decision of the Court demonstrates it is urgent to totally reshuffle this directive,” AHTOP said in a statement.
The UK Short Term Accommodation Association [STAA] said in a statement that it welcomed the CJEU’s clarification about Airbnb’s status as an information society service provider.
STAA chair Merilee Karr said: “We welcome the clarification by the European Court of Justice about Airbnb’s status as an Information Society Service (ISS) provider, and not a real estate agent. This provides a much greater degree of certainty and confidence for those of our members operating similar platforms, now that a legal precedent has been set.
“For those of our members based in the UK with Brexit ahead, these rules will apply for at least another year during the transition period contained within the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and may be longer lasting.
“For short-term rental hosts and guests, there is little direct impact.
“The sector remains regulated in the UK, but from now on, it will be unlawful to be made subject to additional regulations that currently apply to real estate providers. The UK Government maintains the ability to regulate the home-sharing sector in the years ahead and the STAA looks forward to working together with stakeholders to ensure that his happens in a balanced and proportionate way.
“The UK STAA is committed to growing this vibrant sector in a responsible and sustainable way. We provide our members and the general public with help and guidance on regulations.
“Our aim is to improve standards throughout the industry, and we will continue our successful work with a diversity of stakeholders including government, local authorities, councils and tourism associations,” she added.